Photo: River Welland in Spalding (photo by Penny Carnell)
A campaign cruise organised by IWA Lincolnshire Branch from Boston to Spalding on the River Welland, had to be cancelled in May due to failure by the Environment Agency to maintain Fulney Lock in a navigable condition. The lock gates cannot be operated due to a build-up of silt in the lock gate recesses.
IWA had planned to assemble a flotilla of up to eight boats which would moor in Spalding to demonstrate the unrealised potential for tourism and economic development that recreational boating returning to Spalding will bring when the Fens Waterways Link is completed.
The River Welland is an historic navigation stretching back to the time when the river was tidal up to and beyond Spalding. Fulney Lock is a flood defence structure, on the outskirts of Spalding, which is part of the tidal defences for Spalding and the surrounding low lying land of South Holland. EA operating procedures specify that the structure is available for navigation when tides are level with the normal retained height of water through the town. The historic statutory navigation rights extend back to when Spalding was a significant trading port.
IWA started planning the cruise in November 2014 with a view to supporting the Fens Waterways Link project by demonstrating that even now it is possible to cruise from Boston to Spalding and up the Welland as far as Peakirk (near Peterborough). In late April 2015 EA effectively closed the navigation due to their failing to clear siltation behind the lock gates making them impossible to open. A similar cruise was planned in 2012 but also failed for the same reason. It is not clear whether navigation has been possible since 2012. As recently as 2001 the lock was navigable having been documented by a group of boaters known as the “Tuesday Night Club”.
The cruise was planned with the help and support of Fosdyke Yacht Haven who act as harbour authority on the River Welland tidal outfall from Fulney Lock to the Wash.
On hearing that the cruise had been cancelled, IWA National Chairman, Les Etheridge, said "There are various parts of the EA network currently unavailable for use. IWA wants to see them all restored to working order as soon as possible and to ensure there is adequate funding to keep them operational."
Photo: Festival of Water, Northampton (photo by Alex Madisons)
A full programme of events has been announced for the IWA Northampton Festival of Water being held at Becket’s Park in Northampton over the August Bank Holiday, 29th-31st August.
The free-entry event will have plenty for everyone to see and do. Starting with a Boaters' Quiz and BBQ on Friday evening, the weekend continues with live music from Braunston Pickle, Ukebox Jury, Martin Day, Dave Fry, Chris Tymkow and Chris Tobin and headline band, Grandma’s Wooden Leg, will be entertaining on Saturday night. As well as trade and market stalls, there will be trade and historic boats on the water, an illuminated boat parade, local Queen’s Oak and Brackley morris sides will be dancing on Saturday and Sunday and a Dog Display Team will also be going through their paces. Children will be kept amused by family entertainer Chucklefoot, Thomas the Tank Engine will be chugging around the site and other children’s rides will be available as well as face painting and other activities.
Boaters who have not explored Northampton’s waterways before will have the opportunity to take part in a regular Northampton Branch event – the Westbridge Challenge. A boat handling competition is planned and it is rumoured the local Sea Cadets will be out in force.
The weekend is set to be a bumper one so if you are coming by boat, caravan or are camping - book in now! For those without a Gold Licence and wanting to explore the local waterways further, special 2-for-1 registration is being offered by the Environment Agency and CRT, which will double your cruise duration.
Booking forms and more details are available at the Festival pages of IWA’s website.
Photo: Volunteers at a Himalayan Balsam work party in Leicester
Following an Awareness Week organised by IWA a range of resources has been launched to help raise awareness of the invasive species, Himalayan Balsam, so that this problem plant, which is a threat to the waterways, can be better recorded and controlled.
IWA’s Himalayan Balsam resources are designed to help the public identify and learn more about the plant, not only so that it can be spotted and recorded but also so people can better understand the problems it causes by damaging habitats and contributing to bank erosion. IWA has put together a fact sheet, leaflet, infographic and blog, in addition to further information on IWA’s website. The variety of material available means there is something to help everyone whether an individual wants to find out more or a group wants something to hand out at Himalayan Balsam work parties.
IWA believes that increasing people’s awareness of the plant and the problems it causes will lead to greater recording, less accidental spreading and more active involvement in tackling Himalayan Balsam. IWA branches across the country are helping to further encourage involvement in removing the invasive species by holding and supporting a number of work parties, mainly taking place in June and July. This year IWA branches currently have planned or are supporting Himalayan Balsam work parties at fifteen locations on ten waterways, all of which the public can get involved with to help remove Himalayan Balsam. Full details for each event are available at IWA's website.
Photo: Richard Parry, CRT Chief Executive, re-opens a stretch of the Lancaster Canal at IWA's National Trailboat Festival
IWA’s National Trailboat Festival, hosted by Lancaster Canal Trust, was held over the weekend of 30th May, with a Boaters’ Day on Monday 1st June. Twenty-seven boats attended the Festival, which was held on the Lancaster Canal at the Westmorland Showground as part of the annual canal side event, Country Fest.
On the Saturday and Sunday, Country Fest was well attended with plenty to do and see on site, including IWA, WRG, Wilts & Berks Canal Trust, Chesterfield Canal Trust and Lancaster Canal Trust stands. During the Boaters' Day on Monday, the visiting Trailboats cruised about a mile north to see Richard Parry, CRT Chief Executive, re-open part of the Lancaster Canal with a canoe group ready to enjoy the waterway.
Photo: Montgomery Triathlon, canoes at Rednal
A number of events have taken place on the Montgomery Canal as part of Making Waves, a programme of activities promoted by the Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust and supported by the Friends of the Montgomery Canal, and IWA Shrewsbury, District & North Wales Branch, which aims to celebrate the length of canal from Llanymynech through Welshpool which is currently not accessible by boat from the rest of the 2,000 mile network of canals across England and Wales.
A key event in the Making Waves programme took place on 9th May, when over 230 people participated in the fourth Montgomery Canal Triathlon with an additional 80 volunteers turning out to help on the day.
The event was started by the Mayor of Newtown, Cllr Rina Clarke who sent entrants on the first leg of the event, cycling 17 miles to Pool Quay, north of Welshpool. Bicycles were left at Pool Quay, and participants started on foot to cover the 10½ miles to Morton. The final 7½ miles from Morton were taken in canoes.
Entrants came from Kent, Cornwall, Lincolnshire, Manchester, Birmingham, South Wales and the Cotswolds, and included Richard Parry, Chief Executive of CRT and Andrew Stumpf, Head of Wales for Glandŵr Cymru/CRT in Wales.
The Triathlon was followed by Making Waves with Canoes on 17th May, which offered free taster sessions in canoes thanks to the assistance of Red Ridge Outdoor Centre, mid-Wales, who provided boats and instructors. Over 60 adults and children took advantage of the taster sessions, with several coming back for a second session.
Both events were a great success and the Making Waves programme still has plenty to offer including film shows, walks and a festival. The full list of events with further details is available at the Making Waves website.
2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the IWA National Trailboat Rally in Falkirk and celebrations are planned for early July to recognise the significance of the event and commemorate its legacy.
Boaters and canal enthusiasts will gather at the Falkirk Wheel on the 4th July, with an evening event planned at the Visitor Centre. On Sunday, 5th July, boaters will leave the Wheel and head for the Helix site and Kelpies in Grangemouth. On Wednesday, 8th July, there will be a VIP visit to formally open the new Helix Canal and the Kelpies.
The 1990 event was the first and only of IWA’s National Trailboat Rallies to be held in Scotland. The aims of the Rally were to celebrate the redevelopment of the former tar works site on the banks of the Forth and Clyde Canal, destroyed by fire in 1973, and to introduce visitors to the enormous potential of forming a cruising link between Edinburgh and Glasgow and the Rivers Forth and Clyde.
It is argued that the legacy of this Rally was a great inspiration and resulted in the Falkirk Wheel, The Millennium Link, The Kelpies and improved access to the River Forth as boaters, politicians and other visitors to the rally realised that the local canals provided a superb recreational, heritage and educational asset.
Boaters and canal enthusiasts from across the UK are invited to take part in one or more of the events. For more information and to book a place, contact Ronnie Rusack, chair of the Lowland Canals Volunteer Group and event co-ordinator at email@example.com.
Photo: Crick Boat Show & Waterways Festival 2015
IWA once again had a stand at Crick Boat Show & Waterways Festival, which attracted over 26,000 visitors to the Grand Union Canal Leicester Line over the late May Bank Holiday weekend. Volunteers manning IWA's stand reported a brisk trade, and an exceptionally good weekend for recruiting new members with the new '3 months for £3' introductory offer. There were frequent comments along the lines of "We've been meaning to join for some time now", and many positive remarks on IWA's campaign successes over the past few months.
This year, for the first time, IWA was asked to give a presentation as part of the series of seminars held across the weekend, on “How to Get Afloat”. The presentation, which included information about all types of inland boating from rowing boats and canoes through to hiring and hotel boat holidays, was led by Gren Messham, chairman of IWA’s Navigation Committee was well-received.
IWA’s Restoration Committee is seeking enthusiastic advocates of waterway restoration to join, or provide support for, the Association’s Restoration Committee with its work in promoting and developing waterways restoration and new waterways in England and Wales.
Current vacancies are:
Whether you are currently active members of IWA at branch, region or national level or an armchair member who thinks ‘I really should be doing something more’ we would like to hear from you. For more information about each role, including how to apply, visit IWA’s website or contact chairman of IWA Restoration Committee, Vaughan Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0121 477 9782.
IWA is saddened to report the death of Keith Fowler. Keith was an active member of IWA who spent time as Manchester Branch Chairman and remained involved in the work of the Branch for many years after. He was also a member of the site and services team during the 1988 National Rally.
Photo:Competition winner - Where is the canal bed? (photo by David Youngs)
David Youngs’s photo of Horse Park Bridge on the Northern Reaches of the Lancaster Canal has been announced as the winner of the ‘Lost Wonders of our Waterways World’ photography competition, which received over 200 entries. The two runners-up are David Hopley, with an image of Walbut Locks on the Pocklington Canal and Angela Marks, with her photograph of Combe Hay Locks on the Somerset Coal Canal.
The competition is part of a range of activities from the restoration partnership between IWA and CRT.
The photographs will feature in IWA’s Waterways Magazine as well as CRT’s Friends magazine ‘Waterfront’. All entries can be viewed alongside further information about the competition at CRT’s website.
Photo: Rochdale Canal, Todmorden (photo by Tim Lewis)
Volunteers Diana and Paul Monahan of the Rochdale Canal Linear Park Group have created a boaters guide to the Calderdale section of the Rochdale Canal. The leaflet is filled with useful information including a list of boating facilities, nearby shops and services and suggested walks. The leaflet can be downloaded at CRT’s website.
The Department of History at The University of Nottingham, the University and Newark Heritage Barge have organised a Waterways Heritage Day on Saturday 27th June 2015, which will showcase some of the historical research and practical conservation currently in progress on the rivers and canals of the East Midlands.
The event will include a series of talks in the morning and a guided walk along the Newark Heritage Barge’s (NHB) new trail, ending at the wharf where the Leicester Trader is currently under restoration. Waterways heritage organisations in the East Midlands and neighbouring regions have also been invited to display their work and publications to sell.
The day school is possible thanks to a grant awarded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council and forms part of its Connected Communities Festival, a national programme of events intended to strengthen links between universities and local communities.
Anyone interested in waterways history, or the local history of Trentside or canalside communities, is very welcome to attend the event, which will be held at Staythorpe Electricity Sports & Social Club in Newark. The day school is a free event, but organisers ask that those interested in attending register. For further information, including how to register, contact Philip Riden at email@example.com or on 01246 554026.
Wilts & Berks Canal Trust has announced the appointment of Roderick Bluh as its Chairman (designate).
The Trust has invited Roderick Bluh to become its Chairman because of his enthusiasm and support for the restoration of the canal, and his belief in the potential benefits, both economic and social, it could bring to Swindon. He recently stood down as a local councillor in Swindon, and previously he was Leader of the Council from 2006 to 2013.
Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust had the honour of leading the Lichfield Greenhill Bower in May. The procession through the city’s streets was led by the Trust’s Narrowboat float, which carried the Bower Queen and her deputy.
This section contains volunteer reports from IWA branches and IWA's Waterway Recovery Group (WRG). IWA branch reports contain information from their latest work parties where volunteers have worked to help maintain their local canals. WRG reports on its Canal Camps and weekend digs to keep readers up to date with the restoration work the group has been undertaking.
Photo: Volunteers work on Wolverley Court Lock beam at IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch work party
Another successful work party for IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch took place on Wednesday 13th May when volunteers returned to Wolverley Court Lock on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal. The glorious spring weather enabled them to carry out painting of the balance beams and lock furniture, which had been previously prepared. Due to the Listed status of Wolverley Court Lock, due consideration and liaison with CRT took place over paint type and colours, with the traditional black and white colours being replicated like for like. By the end of the day the finished lock looked very smart, and ready for a return visit next month for Himalayan Balsam pulling around the lock and the adjacent Springfield Park.
Photo: Volunteer painting at the Red Bull Flight, Cheshire Locks (photo by Andy Hellyar-Brook)
It was evident at IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch’s work party at the Cheshire Locks on 21st May that spring has arrived in Church Lawton. The team of eight took advantage of a long, dry day and completed painting Lock 44 and half of Lock 45 on the Red Bull flight, along with all of the gardening tasks around and between the locks. It was a busy day for boaters and towpath users, all of whom were happy to praise the team’s work and thank them for their efforts.
For the next work party the group plans to continue working at Red Bull to complete Lock 45 and Lock 46 and then organise an opportunity to move back to Harding’s Wood Junction and complete the uplift of the Kidsgrove locks. If you’ve got a few hours spare and fancy helping out on a Thursday, the friendly team would be happy to see you, email Andy Hellyar-Brook for more information.
Photo: New picnic benches installed nest to the Canal at Bathpool
IWA West Country Branch volunteers met at Bathpool on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal on 24th May to install two new picnic benches for the public to enjoy this summer.
A group of volunteers began work to install the picnic benches, getting a good deal done before the end of the day. A few returned on Sunday afternoon to add the finish touches.
Another group spent the Saturday clearing foliage and beginning to tackle Himalayan Balsam, which had begun to emerge along the towpath.
Have a look at the list of volunteer opportunities within local IWA committees. There is a full list of volunteer opportunities within IWA branches.
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last edition of the Bulletin:
Lancashire & Cumbria Branch - Towing Path Topics - May 2015
South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch - Keel & Cuckoos - June 2015
Ipswich Branch - Anglian Cuttings - Spring 2015
Lichfield Branch - Lichfield Lines - Spring 2015
Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch - Shroppie Fly Paper - Spring 2015
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added in recent weeks:
Chiltern Branch - Grapevine - April 2015
Lee & Stort Branch - Lee & Stort Recorder - Spring 2015
Major IWA events in 2015
29th - 31st August 2015 - Festival of Water, Northampton
IWA Branch Events in 2015
3rd - 5th July 2015 - Ware Boat Festival, Hertfordshire
4th - 5th July 2015 - Welsh Waterways Festival, Welshpool, Mid-Wales
Have you got a waterway event or activity to promote? - Anyone can add details of a waterways event or activity to this area on the website. You don’t even need to register with the website or provide any sort of password. Simply use the upload event form.
3rd June Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
6th June Work Party - Bridgwater & Taunton Canal (IWA West Country Branch)
6th June Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
6th June Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Burslem Port (supported by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
8th June Work Party - Caldon Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
9th June Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northamtpon Branch)
10th June Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
10th June Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
14th June Work Party - Sleaford Navigation (supported by IWA Lincolnshire Branch)
17th June Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
17th June Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA Lichfield Branch)
18th June Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Cheshire Locks (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
20th June Work Party - Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch)
20th June Work Party - Bridgwater & Taunton Canal (IWA West Country Branch)
20th June Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Uttoxeter Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
23rd June Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Burslem Port (supported by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
23rd June Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Aylestone Meadows (supported by IWA Leicestershire Branch)
24th June Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
25th June Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Uttoxeter Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
26th June Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
26th June Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Pocklington Canal (IWA East Yorkshire Branch)
27th June Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
28th June Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
29th June Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Caldon Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
1st July Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
2nd July Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Caldon Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
4th July Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
4th July Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Bridgwater & Taunton Canal (IWA West Country Branch)
4th July Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Burslem Port (supported by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
5th July Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Caldon Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
7th July Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Aylestone Meadows (supported by IWA Leicestershire Branch)
8th July Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
8th July Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
9th July Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Uttoxeter Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
10th July Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Caldon Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
11th July Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Newport (supported by IWA Shrewsbury & North Wales Branch)
11th July Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Haslam Park, Preston (supported by IWA Lancashire & Cumbria Branch)
12th July Himalayan Balsam Work Party - River Avon (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
12th July Work Party - Sleaford Navigation (supported by IWA Lincolnshire Branch)
14th July Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
15th July Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
15th July Work Party - Bridgwater & Taunton Canal (IWA West Country Branch)
16th July Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Cheshire Locks (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
18th July Work Party - Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch)
18th July Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Uttoxeter Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
22nd July Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
22nd July Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Caldon Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
24th July Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
25th July Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
25th July Work Party - Bridgwater & Taunton Canal (IWA West Country Branch)
26th July Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
28th July Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Burslem Port (supported by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
29th July Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar
3rd June Waterside Walk - Ashby Canal nr Hinckley (IWA Lichfield Branch)
3rd June Waterside Walk - River Foss, Easingwold - Coxwold (River Foss Society)
7th June Waterside Walk - Islington to Mile End (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
10th June Waterside Walk - Bascote Locks (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
13th June Waterside Walk - Shropshire Union Canal and Brewood Countryside (IWA Shrewsbury & North Wales Branch)
21st June Waterside Walk - Little Venice to Camden (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
26th-27th June Waterside Walk - River Foss (River Foss Society)
5th July Waterside Walk - Grand Union Canal, Paddington (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
8th July Waterside Walk - Saltisford Canal Arm (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
15th July Restoration Walk - Lichfield Canal (IWA Lichfield Branch)
19th July Waterside Walk - The New River (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
To advertise your towpath walks in the Bulletin, please add details to IWA's events calendar
The following special offers are now available exclusively for IWA members:
Please note: All discounts and offers are entirely at the organisers' discretion.
To see details of how to take advantage of these offers, please go to www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/members_area/member_discounts_special_offers_public
For IWA members who receive a printed copy of this bulletin in the post, please contact the membership team on 01494 783453 for the details of the offers.
Members can also support IWA with a Narrow Boat magazine subscription
IWA has an arrangement with insurers Navigators & General and River Canal Rescue that provides top quality boat insurance and access to the basic waterway rescue service for boat owners, with the added benefit that every policy taken out and subsequently renewed helps IWA, and thus furthers our charitable work for the waterways.
See more information about the IWA insurance scheme for boaters